Our What’s In My Pocket series offers an inside look at the interesting people who use Pocket to elevate their work and life. Know someone who fits the mold? Let us know at email@example.com. First up, Pocket’s very own Lead Designer, Nikki Will!
Name: Nikki Will
Twitter Handle: @nikkimarie47
Bio: Art-Director-turned-Product-Designer. Also: adventure seeker, pop culture junkie, travel fanatic, avid reader, to-do list addict.
Location: San Francisco, CA
Little-Known Fact: I collect Starbucks mugs from cities/countries I visit, and now have an unwieldy (and quite impractical) collection of mugs. Anyone want to come over for coffee?
Started Using Pocket: The day it launched as Read It Later in 2007. Since then, I’ve saved over 13,000 items to my account!
What do you do at Pocket?
I’m the Lead Designer, so I oversee everything visual for Pocket. I’m involved with projects from concept to completion, so I help determine what problems we want to solve; validate them through research and prototyping; and create pixel-perfect designs. Then, I work closely with our developers as they implement the designs, and with our marketing team to create visual assets that tell the story of Pocket.
More than three and a half years as Employee #2 means I’ve worn a lot of other hats as well. I’ve done everything from customer support to office management to recruiting (speaking of which: we’re hiring!).
I loved the idea of using design to communicate ideas and connect with people.
What made you want to go into design?
Inspired largely by Target’s whimsical advertising campaigns in the 1990s, I decided I wanted to become a designer/art director in my early teens. I loved the idea of using design to communicate ideas and connect with people. In a twist of fate, I actually worked on Target campaigns at two different advertising agencies after graduating from art school!
What are some of the most rewarding or memorable projects you’ve worked on at Pocket?
The rebrand from Read It Later to Pocket was definitely one! Redesigning the company’s user interface and, ultimately, identity, was my first large project after joining. It was a perfect transition from the advertising world: a great opportunity to flex my art direction and visual design muscles, and a quick, hands-on (and thorough!) education in product design.
Through this process, we refreshed our brand, making it more approachable and minimalist compared to the darker, heavier theme of Read It Later. We also introduced a new Tile View, to put more emphasis on the visual aspects of Pocket.
More recently, there was our Localization project, in which we translated the entire Pocket platform into 15 languages. We had to reexamine every single one of our layouts, to make sure they worked well with all kinds of non-English characters and super-lengthy translations. This has since become an integral step in our design process, leading us to always keep our many different audiences in mind.
Where do you go for design inspiration?
I often peruse Pinterest or pttrns.com when I’ve hit a creative block. The SF Museum of Modern Art is very close to the Pocket office, so I’ll sometimes wander over to their bookstore/gift shop for a burst of color. Malls are not only retail therapy for me, but I find that design trends in merchandising can be a great source of inspiration.
It is so comforting knowing I can just save links to Pocket to look at later. Pocket is instrumental in capturing things I don’t want to lose!
How does Pocket help you at work and at home?
I would have given up on Twitter a long time ago if it weren’t for Pocket! I don’t have as much time for Twitter as I did, say, a year ago. It is so comforting knowing I can just save links to Pocket to look at later. Pocket is instrumental in capturing things I don’t want to lose!
What’s your favorite Pocket feature?
That it is available across all platforms. I use multiple devices to save to Pocket and view what I’ve saved; and I use it at different times of day, too. I use Pocket on my phone in the mornings and evenings — while getting ready, commuting, and going to bed — but I also consume lots of content on my computer. It is really great to be able to flow seamlessly between them without feeling confined.
I’ve used Pocket to prepare for trips to Iceland, Italy, Bali, and Machu Picchu, among others. For this year’s big trip, Pocket even helped me narrow down my destination.
What kinds of content are you saving to Pocket right now?
Professional: Articles about product and visual design. There are always new tools, tips, and tutorials to learn from!
Travel: I’ve used Pocket to prepare for trips to Iceland, Italy, Bali, and Machu Picchu, among others. I’m an aggressive researcher, consulting all kinds of sources from Lonely Planet and Tripadvisor forums to blog posts to articles in Conde Nast Traveler and The New York Times. For this year’s big trip, Pocket even helped me narrow down my destination: it was down to Morocco, Tanzania, and South Africa, so I did a lot of background reading to help figure out where to go. (Tanzania it is!)
Anything related to running: For the past 6 months, I was saving a ton of items about running, as I trained for my first half-marathon with one of my best friends. I’d never run more than a mile before, so that was a big challenge for me! I filled my Pocket with recommendations on shoes, training plans, techniques, stretches, and how to avoid injury. Over the course of my training, I tagged everything “running”, and shared a lot of items with friends who were also gearing up for their first long races.
In general, I save a lot about things to do and restaurants to try in San Francisco. Plus, I like to cook at home, so I also use Pocket to store all the recipes I want to make in a given week.
Most popular sites in Nikki’s Pocket:
Do you have a Pocket story? Whether you use Pocket to inspire your work, get organized, plan your next adventure, or read on your commute, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you could be featured in the next installment of What’s In My Pocket.